1999 Kawasaki ZX-7R
Cracking to ride and gorgeous to look at
Rear brake light switch contacts corroded, but easily fixed with a strip and clean.
No other faults.
I was drawn to the ZX-7R because apart from maybe the Ducati 916 and the MV Agusta F4, I think it's the best looking sportsbike ever made. I've also had a couple of other Kawasakis which were both great bikes, and as soon as I rode the 7, I fell in love.
Even 8 years after it first appeared, the 7R is still a real head turner, particularly in lime green or red (mine's the former), and I've had both bikers and non-bikers come up to me in petrol stations when refueling it to comment on how much it stands out from the sportsbike herd, and how aggressive and attractive it looks. The bike is totally standard apart from a tinted double bubble screen, tail tidy and a hugger.
Due to one of the most dismal British summers in recent memory, I've only clocked up a measly 3,000 miles since I bought the bike just under a year ago. However, it's been enough for the bike to work its way into my affections.
The absolute best thing, apart from the looks, is the handling. The extra weight this bike carries, for which it was sometimes criticised, actually makes it ideal for the roads. It feels planted, shrugs off odd cambers and potholes, and encourages you to lean it, and lean it, and lean it until you're taking corners at ridiculous speeds. At no point does it ever twitch or break away without warning. The downside is it sometimes feels a little slow to turn initially, but a good shove on the inside bar sorts it nicely.
The engine is very strong in the midrange, but most modern generation 600's will give it a run for its money at the top end. That said, no 600 gives such effortless drive out of slow corners, fuels so cleanly so low down the rev range, or provides such a wide spread of smooth power. And yes like most Kawasakis it sounds gorgeous, even on a standard pipe.
Despite being a big old bruiser, the bike is uncomfortable, but that's a feature of a race rep and not something really to criticise. It's OK above 50 mph, but below that the weight starts to tell on the wrists. Like most Kawasakis it has a hard ride and this also becomes uncomfortable after a while.
Overall though, it's been a great bike, and definitely worth hanging on to for another summer or two. Values certainly aren't dropping, and I reckon mine is still worth all bar about UKP100 of what I paid for it this time last year. I think its race heritage and distinctive styling will mean good ones will always sell easily and for good money.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th November, 2004
Well it's September 2005 and I've just reluctantly parted with the bike due to a change in circumstances and a shortage of space.
For a Japanese bike, this is about as close to depreciation free riding as you can get. Bought in November 2003 for UKP 3100. Used it for best part of 2 years and 4,000 miles (didn't do much this summer for personal reasons). Advertised it in September 2005 for UKP 3000, loads of calls from the off, and sold it in a few days for UKP 2800, even with a UKP 300 service bill imminent.
In that time, I spent about UKP 200 in upkeep including road tax, a new rear tyre, a couple of oil top ups, a couple of bulbs and cleaning / chain lube materials. Would start "on the button" even after several months disuse, and never missed a beat.
I got two years of fair weather riding fun, track bred handling, drop dead gorgeous looks, and total reliability for a net cost of less than UKP 500, excluding insurance and fuel! Or to put it another way, the equivalent of less than two finance payments on a new ZX-6R. It can't be legal!
I keep reading negatives about the famed 7r, mostly from non-owners. I am here to clear the air about the 7r.
First, yes it is heavy, but at insane high speeds I experience no tank slap whatsoever.
Also, the acceleration is fantastic and nothing, and I mean nothing, sounds like it. I never get bested by 600's, nor do the R1's "walk" away from me; I'm right in the pack. Top speed is right with everyone else, no complaints at all.
Mods include Muzzy full race, stage 3 jet, big bore kit, race cam.
Top speed shoots way past the 185; enough to not even consider speedo error, 1/4 times in mid 10's.
Looks wise there is nothing that looks as sinister as the 7r; it looks like a fighter jet with its dual ram air.
To say that an R1 wouldn't "walk" a 14 year old 700 is a bit much. I love the 7R, but let's be realistic.